In March 2007 I was selected to be a K9 Handler and was assigned K9 Jerry as my new partner. Jerry’s previous handler decided to move on from the K9 Unit. I had already worked with the K9 Unit as a decoy/agitator, and was already familiar with Jerry. Jerry was a very high drive, energetic dog. Weighing in at over 100 pounds, Jerry was a lot of dog to handle. Jerry immediately became a part of the family and enjoyed playing ball in the backyard. Jerry also enjoyed playing with my daughter and our one year old Scottish Terrier puppy (Tink).
During the early stages of our training, Jerry caught one of his lower canine teeth on a bite sleeve and cracked a canine tooth. Unfortunately the tooth was cracked below the gum line and needed surgery. The staff at the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital did everything they could to save Jerry’s tooth. While attempting to save the tooth a procedure called “Crown Lengthening” was completely, with no success. Jerry had to have his lower right canine tooth and two smaller front teeth removed.
After several weeks of healing, Jerry had to relearn how to bite with fewer teeth on the right side of his jaw. The lack of teeth did not deter Jerry from being one of the strongest biting dogs that we had in our unit. Jerry was fun to watch during our bite scenarios. Jerry was fearless!
In September and December of 2008 Jerry again had cracked two more teeth. This time it was the top and bottom canine teeth on his left side. Jerry was again evaluated by the veterinary hospital and we were told that only one of the canine teeth was repairable, while the other canine tooth needed to be extracted because it too had broke below the gum line. The Police Department made the decision to retire Jerry.
In March 2009 K9 Jerry officially retired at the young age of six. Once a canine retires from the Folsom Police K9 Unit, the K9 Handler gets the opportunity to keep the dog. Jerry still needed the dental procedures completed or the teeth could get badly infected. The Folsom Police Canine Officer’s Association covered the expenses for the dental procedures. Even though he is now missing five teeth, Jerry is still as energetic as before.
I had just received my new canine partner and introduced him to Jerry. Needless to say the two did not get along (the whole alpha male thing). It became too difficult to handle both dogs at home. I had to make the difficult decision to find a new home for Jerry. I only had the opportunity to work with Jerry for two years, but we created a great bond between us. Everyday while I was getting ready for work, Jerry would spin in circles and bark in anticipation of hitting the streets. Once Jerry was in the back of the patrol car, he would pace back and forth just waiting for some action. Jerry has this low, deep bark that would get everyone’s attention. Officers have already told me that they miss seeing Jerry hanging out the back window and barking while on calls or traffic stops.
Jerry is now enjoying retirement with Folsom Police Officer Roman Kehm and his family. Officer Kehm had worked with the K9 Unit as a decoy/agitator during our training sessions. Jerry is now a playmate of Officer Kehm’s female German Shepherd Lexi. Luckily Officer Kehm lives nearby and I get the opportunity to see Jerry as often as I like. VIEW PHOTOS
K9 Officer Nathan Ventioner